Marching into Obscurity

In case you didn’t know, there was another international march that occurred over the weekend. The March for Science took place this past Saturday and united scientists and non-scientists across the globe in their quest to prevent the powers that be from infringing upon the progress of science. Now, I’m not criticizing the purpose of this march. After all, I am a scientist myself. However, what is a march like this really going to accomplish? I feel that ever since the November election, there have been marches and rallies every other day of the week. We’ve had marches to see Trump’s tax returns, general anti-Trump marches, marches for and against abortions, and I’m sure many more that I have failed to mention. I’ve had varying viewpoints on the marches and protests that I have heard about, and the purpose of this post is not to address my views on those topics. Instead, I want to ask one simple question. How many more protests, rallies, and marches do we have to have before nobody cares anymore?

Now don’t misquote me here. I’m all for public assembly, protesting, and exercising our first amendment rights. Hell, that amendment is the reason why I can type a blog like this without fear of the state police breaking down my door and escorting me to the nearest “re-education camp.” However, the marches that I have read about in the news in recent months are almost like mockeries in terms of what they are trying to accomplish. Take the anti-Trump marches that occurred shortly after the elections, for example. CNN showed city streets filled with anti-Trump protestors marching and shouting and protesting against a man they had grown to hate with every nerve of their bodies. Some marched to protest the United State’s electoral college system of voting while others marched against the comments Trump made in the now infamous Pussygate tapes. And my question to those people is, what were any of you trying to prove? Was a march supposed to convince him to resign from the Presidency right after he won it? Was a march supposed to convince him to out himself as some hateful bigot? Was a march simply to vent frustration over Hillary’s loss really going to net you a win for the progressive agenda? Simply marching and coming up with witty little rhymes to belittle your target of protest is not going to do anything but get you bonus points with CNN and make you feel good about yourself. If obtaining that “feel good” feeling is the true underlying purpose behind all of these marches, then the founding fathers are rolling in their graves by now.

I look at these marches as a kind of virtue fad. From what I see on TV and social media, it’s cool to live on the fringe. It’s cool to care about science, hiking, the environment, and offbeat hobbies. There’s nothing wrong with being interested in something. However, I see a problem with pretending to be interested in something just to give everyone else a false impression. Unfortunately, I see these marches and protests evolving into a virtue fad. Jane posts a status on Facebook saying that she’s going to the March for Science. Joe sees this and says he’s going to go. The statuses keep spreading until we have a whole mass of people going to the March for Science. Now that’s great for organizing, but do these people even care about what they are doing? Are they devotees to the cause or just trying to look cool on Facebook? Remember the terrible terror attacks that took place in Paris a while back? Do you remember how Facebook released a profile photo filter of the French flag? Do you remember how each of your friends had it? I’d like to think that the people who used this filter all truly felt sorry for what happened in those attacks, but I feel that some just followed the fad and simply were trying to one-up one another in the contest of who could appear to be the most virtuous.

What changes do we really want to see in our cities, states, and the country as a whole? How can we accomplish these changes? Do we have to come up with a local program to solve a community problem? If that program fixes the community, can we apply it in other neighborhoods? Can we apply it at the state level? If it’s successful at the state level, maybe it could be useful at the federal level. This is how change occurs. If you have lofty goals with no idea of how to obtain them, you will get nowhere. If you march for the sake of marching, you’re not changing the world. You’re simply sitting in the driveway with your car in park.

This past week, a man committed a murder while using Facebook Live. Police had a perfect description of the man and the car he drove. This guy should have been caught by the end of the night. Instead he crossed state lines and did not meet his fate until 48 hours after he committed his heinous crime. Where are the marches for that? Why aren’t people marching for safer communities? Where are the calls for more cops? Where are the calls for more resources for police so they can prevent these types of crimes from happening again? These would be reasons to march and these types of marches might actually accomplish something simply because there’s no lofty goals to conquer. The only goal is for the city to give the police the resources they need to do their job. That’s an obtainable objective. We need more marches with obtainable objectives because then we might actually start to see the positive things that we desire from our marches. Maybe these benefits would not be seen in our lifetimes, but the least we could do is lay the groundwork for our future generations.

I know this post offers more hope than substance and highlights more complaints than solutions, but if you don’t take anything else away from this piece, at least heed the words of this last paragraph. If you’re going to march and protest, go ahead and do it, but do some soul searching first. Why are you marching? Do you really care about the message or are you just trying to utilize a cool geotag in your next Snapchat? How far are you willing to go with the message from this protest? Are you here to stay or just trying to impress your followers? If you doubt your answers to any of these questions, then don’t participate in the next march that you happen to hear about on Tumblr. Otherwise, you are just helping to turn a great right in this country into the next crappy Facebook filter.

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